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is within. Gross indecencies in conversation are indeed at present in general remitted to the vul, gar; but the delicate lasciviousness of the more refined shews the same abominable temper in the secret inuendo; the double entendre; and the thin veil of a witty expression suited more surely to insinuate into and fix the vile idea more firmly upon the memory. These “unclean spirits have gone forth out of your mouth,” (Rev. xvi. 13.) or your fancy hath been entertained with them, you have either smiled approbation, or seemed only pleasingly to frown in silence; at least have not testified your abhorrence of them. Whilst too often, what openly-corrupt conversation goes forward ? and, shameful to tell ! even the old make the young to blush with their obscenities. The conduct under such an influence must be conformed to the temper.
I will not speak of the more criminal indulgencies of the flesh, of the grossest nature ; but would have every one of you call to mind the many undue liberties you have taken with any, person, because you were alone; the dishonour of God's temple, your own body; the satisface tion and pleasure enjoyed in a loose book of amours or plays; or the like obscenities more strikingly expressed on the stage : the feasting your eyes with an indecent picture; the allowed, though sinful freedoms so common at balls and in other mixed companies; and the innumerable ways which the flesh contrives decently to grat*ify its corrupt desires. Whilst, as the effect of such indulgences, your minds feel the continued impression of them, and your senses, even when locked up in sleep, are still haunted with the image and impure fancies, which were entertained when you were waking.
These are the dire marks of our desperately
wicked hearts. Corrupt indeed are we, and become abominable: “ from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in us, but the whole is wounds and bruises and putrifying sores.” (Isai. i. 6.) The more we are attentive to what hath passed in us, the more we shall discover this vile nature of ours, and feel the need of crying, “Purge me with hyssop, thať I may be clean; wash me, that I may be whiter than snow.” (Psal. li. 7.) Yea, and when we have begun to be made whole, “this war in our members, this flesh that lusteth against the spirit," (Gal. v. 17.) will require all our labour; watchfulness and prayer, to“ keep it under and bring it into subjection." (1 Cor. ix. 27.) ;
I shall concluele the subject with this one observation.
That the knowledge of this desperate wicked ness of our hearts can only come from the Spirit of God, by his word enlightning our minds to understand our errors : for those who are evidently under the grossest influence of the foregomug evils, and one should think, must be unavoidably convinced of them, are quite insensible' of it. The most worldly hearts are usually the most regardless of their wretched state : and they who are “ following all uncleanness with greediness,'' are led blindfold to their ruin, as the adulteress, Es who eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith I have done no wickedness." (Prov. XXX. 20.). But when God's light shineth into our hearts, then is our darkness revealed to us; conviction of sin flashes like lightning on our consciences :: and the more of this light we obtain, the more himbling are our reflectionsi
· I have pitied the ignorance of a decent förmalist, whose astonishment hath been raised wheit ay experieneed christian hath expressed his deepa
apprehensions of his own vileness; and the unawakened devotee hath suspected, from his confessions of the “ remembrance of his sins being grievous to him, and the burden of them really intolerable,”* that he must needs have been a peculiarly bad man in his time, and committed some atrocious wickedness : whereas the only difference between them is, that the one is enlightened to see and quickened to attend to those workings of natural corruption in his heart and actions; whilst, however more evident they appear in the conduct of the other, yet the “darkness hath blinded his eyes” that he cannot see them. And this it is that makes every true believer really write down under his own pame "of sinners I am chief;" because the views he hath of his own fallen nature can be equalled by nothing which he discovers in the conduct of others.
If what you have heard hath this blessed humbling effect upon any of your hearts, my brethren, one great end of my speaking will be answered, and “ the revelation of the gospel of the grace of God in Jesus Christ," will indeed appear precious unto you, concerning which I purpose to speak more fully in the ensuing discourses.
* Confession in the Communion Servica
THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD's LAW.
GALATIANS III. 10.
CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT CONTINUETH NOT IN ALL
THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW TO DO THEM.
THE immortality of the soul hath been a 1 truth received in all nations and all ages. The light of the Gospel hath infallibly confirmed it. Man therefore is a creature, whose present existence must be considered as bearing a necessary connexion with futurity ; and his eter. nal state, as being so infinitely more durable, must be regarded by him as unspeakably more important than his temporal. . That he is a dependent creature, and, as ene dued with conscience, accountable to some su. perior being for his conduct in this life, hath been also universally received, and cannot now be reasonably disputed, since Révélation hath laid it down among its most evident truths, that “God will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained ; of which he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts xvii. 31.) That then the actions of men shall be laid in the balance of justice, and a suitable sentence follow the inquiry.
If man be thus accountable for his actions, it must arise from some rule of duty prescribed and known : what that rule is, as well as the
sanctions annexed to it, will deserve our attentive consideration.
We are in nothing more liable to mistake than concerning the law of God, and the penalties annexed to it. Every man naturally desires to be happy. Every one is willing to persuade him- . self he shall be so. Every man therefore would have such a rule as shall certainly comprehend himself within it. Hence all the vain labours to lower down the true standard from the perfection of obedience to sincerity; and then establishing such measures of sincerity, as vary according to the corrupt taste of those who thus exalt themselves into legislators.
On the other hand, the sanctions have suffered the same violence as the law. The dread of eternal misery is terrible indeed. Nature shrinks from it. The language therefore of holy scripture must be explained in some milder sense. Hence the duration, the place, the intenseness, the universality of the torments of the wicked, have been respectively and strenuously controverted by those who had too much reason to apprehend the weight of them: whilst from self-wrought notions of God, and leaving the scriptures to wander after airy speculations, others have invented for themselves a wrathless deity, either too in; dulgent to punish at all, or inflicting merely to purify, and with a view to bring the whole race of mankind finally and happily from the furnace, when their dross hath been consumed, and the divine principle purged and extricated from the intanglements with which flesh and sense have surrounded it.
Now the only way we can shun the rocks of error is by keeping a constant eye upon the chart of divine truth. The God wlio alone hath a right to our service, hath fully revealed his mind